Helena de Moleyns was the daughter of Thomas Townsend Aremberg de Moleyns, 3rd Baron Ventry, and married Colonel Edward Saunderson on 22nd June 1865. They had four sons and one daughter.
Helena Emily de Moleyns who was born in 1842, was a significant figure within the The Orange Women’s Association.
In 1887, following the first Home Rule Crisis, an association of Loyal Orangewomen was established in Ireland by the Hon Helena de Moleyns.
The association was formed when a number of women with strong unionist views formed themselves into a body to work together for the promotion of Protestantism and the defence of the Union.
The Association was authorised by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in December 1887 and it flourished for a short time but eventually ceased to function. The Orange Women’s Association was revived in 1911.
Helena Emily Saunderson (nee de Moleyns) died on 17th January 1926.
Colonel Edward Saunderson : Prominent Irish Unionist Politician
Saunderson was born at Castle Saunderson in County Cavan and inherited his father’s Cavan estates following his death in 1857. He led the Irish Unionist Party between 1891 and 1906. Saunderson was first elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom as the Palmerstonian Liberal member for Cavan in 1865. In 1868, he became a Conservative.
Saunderson lost his seat to the Home Rule League Candidates at the 1874 general election. In 1885 he stood again for the Parliament and was elected as a Conservative for the North Armagh Constituency.
By this time, he had become a prominent figure in the Orange Order and in the Unionist Political Movement. In March 1893, Saunderson was one of the signatories of the manifesto of the Ulster Defence Union, launched to organise resistance to the Second Home Rule Bill of 1893. He also served as Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for Cavan, and was High Sheriff of Cavan in 1859. Saunderson entered the Cavan militia (4th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers) in 1862, and was made a major in 1875. He became a Colonel in 1886 and was in command of the battalion from 1891 to 1893. Brother Saunderson served as the County Grand Master of Belfast from 1901 to 1903.
Saunderson became known for his speeches in the House of Commons.
“No man who comes to Belfast will laugh at the Ulster Loyalists. When all is said and done, whether or not the House of Lords rejects this Bill, I say in the name of my people I reject it. You may occupy the House of Commons for years to come with academic debates about the merits of this Home Rule Bill but I say in their name I reject it …. Home Rule may pass this House but it will never pass the bridge at Portadown”.
He died of pneumonia in 1906 and a statue, subscribed for by the public, was unveiled at Portadown in 1910